|Irish bloggers at the Christmas Bloggers Meetup!|
I'm not used to public speaking - at all - but in a way this is a good example of what blogging is all about: opening yourself up to new things, putting yourself out there a bit, stretching yourself and welcoming new opportunities into your life. We all say this – because for most of us it's true – but you never imagine when you start your little site that it could bring all of this richness into your life. The experiences, the events, treatments, the products... I've had some pinch-me moments and some brilliant opportunities - like writing for beaut.ie and my column in the Metro Herald - and I'm really grateful for all of the chances that I’ve had. But mostly I'm grateful for the people: I have met some really wonderful people online who are now great friends offline, and that's just magical.
You do have to work incredibly hard for the opportunities that you get, though, as everyone here knows. I am in awe of the mothers who blog and manage it alongside looking after their families, or the people who have several different hobbies with blogging being just one of them. I don’t know how they manage it. Blogging takes up all of my spare time, quite a bit of my money and lots of my headspace, too - it can be all consuming.
|L-R: Sarah, Karen, me making a very scrunched up face, and Cindy|
But all of that’s ok because I love it. And if you love something you will put in the time and the effort and it will always pay off in the end. But you have to REALLY love it, or you won’t want to put in the hours, you won’t want to be sitting in front of a screen typing away at the weekends when you could be out doing other things. It's important to keep a balance - that you never lose the enjoyment and the fun factor and you don’t put too much pressure on yourself because if it stops being fun, if you lose your passion for it, then there's just no point. And it will come across in what you write and people won't want to read it anyway.You also have to be really careful not to let blogging mess with your head. You hear rumbles about the blogosphere being a bitchy place or people not being supportive of each other - I haven't experienced much of that, but I have experienced anxiety, insecurity, paranoia, pangs of jealousy...all feelings I'm not used to and all brought on by myself. Jane from British Beauty Blogger has written about this very topic so I would urge you to read that if you haven't already. Karen from Lovely Girlie Bits has also written a great piece on it here.
The other thing I try to keep in mind is that my blog is not a business, or my day job. I might have the odd ad or partnered post, but it's not a second job, far from it. It's a hobby that has great perks - it allows me to meet lovely people and do things like this and try lots of pretty shiny makeup which I love - but you need to keep some perspective. Only a tiny percentage of bloggers will ever cross over into professional blogging. And the good thing about being amateurs is that no-one expects us to be perfect.The best we can do is love what we do, be kind to each other, try and support one another, read and comment on each other's blogs, and try to make our own the best it can be. I'm no expert but my top tips are to be consistent, to be true to yourself and don't take it too seriously. At the end of the day, it's only blogging.
I'd also like to say a massive thank you to Sarah for organising such a brilliant event, to everyone who listened patiently to my ramblings on the day, and to the other speakers, Kat & Rach from Dolly Rouge and Ellie from MisseBlog along with Marissa Carter from Cocoa Brown and Niamh Martin of NIMA Brush! Hope you found this interesting, or if you write a blog yourself, that you find it useful in some way. Thanks for reading and I'd love to know your thoughts! For more tips on blogging you could also read this brilliant writeup on Fash Mob which summarises beaut.ie co-founder Kirstie McDermott's talk at last year's dot conf.
Pics credit: Shooting Shaun Photography